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Ancient tomb where humans were sacrificed for leader unearthed by archaeologists

Ancient tomb where humans were sacrificed for leader unearthed by archaeologists

Ancient riches were also found buried within the tomb

Archaeologists have found an 1200-year-old tomb containing mummified bodies that are believed to have been sacrificed for a powerful leader.

The tomb is located in El Caño in the Coclé Province of Panama in the El Caño Archaeological Park.

The archaeological site is an important area, which was first discovered by American explorer Hyatt Verrill in 1925.

But the park's first official investigation wouldn't happen until 1970, which led to the discovery of artefacts belonging to the most elite in society and their bodies.

On March 1, the Ministry of Culture of Panama announced the finding of an ancient tomb - as well as hordes of vast treasure within.

The tomb is reported to have been built in 750 AD and is believed to have been intended for a Coclé lord in his 30's, whose remains are buried there - along with others.

Linette Montenegro from the Panamanian Ministry of Culture explained that the treasures found within the ancient cave are ‘incalculable in value' which include:

  • Five pectorals golden plates
  • Two belts of spherical beads made from gold
  • Four bracelets
  • Two earrings in the shape of human figures
  • An earring in the shape of a double crocodile
  • One necklace of small circular beads
  • Five earrings made from the teeth of a sperm whale
  • A set of gold plates
  • Two bells
  • Bone flutes
  • Hundreds of ceramic objects

But that's not all.

Riches were found among sacrificial remains.
Ciudad del Saber/Panama Culture Ministry

Dr Julia Mayo, director of the El Caño Foundation, told HeritageDaily that the other remains were of those 'who died' to accompany the lord into the afterlife - with the remains of those companions estimated to be between eight and 32 people.

She further explained: "They would have been buried along with others previously sacrificed to serve as companions.

"They could have belonged to an adult male of high status from the Rio Grande headquarters."

The Coclé existed in Panama between 200 BCE and 1550 CE, and were elite individuals who often didn't want their bodies to be buried alone.

Golden plates were also uncovered.
Ministry of Culture of Panama

In the tomb, the remains of an elite's body was buried in a face-down position resting on top of the remains of a woman, which is believed to have been a tradition within their culture.

Although archaeologists uncovered so many one-of-a-kind riches from the tomb, Dr Mayo claimed that there could be more to come, as the excavation of the burial has not finished.

She said: "It cannot be specified at the moment how many people were buried with him, but what is known is that he was buried upside down, a common burial way in this society, on the body of a woman."

Featured Image Credit: Ministry of Culture of Panama

Topics: News